Jewish Apple Cake

I know you have seen this cake a million times over the years from the Silver Palate Cookbook to Smitten Kitchen's mother's recipe for "Jewish Apple Cake".

I'm sure you have always wondered: Why is this cake referred to as "Jewish"?

Can a cake have a religion?

There are many theories on the subject.

First of all, this cake is an east coast thing (like Hellmann's mayo). NJ, NY and PA peeps seem to know about this old world cake.
I ate this cake my whole life at my grandmother's house in Queens, NY, and for every Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah).

Many Eastern European Jews brought this recipe back from Europe and serve it for the Jewish holidays (like a German apple kuchen).

The recipe uses vegetable oil, instead of butter, which is dairy, which could make the cake kosher, so I have heard.
You may have your own theories, so feel free to chime in (and no, there is no such thing as a Jewish apple!).

and back to the vegetable oil thing.
Yeah, yeah, I know, gross. Vegetable oil.

Guess what? My mother used Wesson oil my whole life and what happened to me?

It's ok once every few years to use it, so don't ask "can I substitute olive oil, or apple sauce" in the recipe.
Yes, you can. You can do whatever you like.
The cake police will not arrest you.

Go old school and bake this cake, it's SO GOOD!


Jewish Apple Cake:

3 apples, peeled and cubed (any kind of apple, I like Gala or Granny Smith)
1 tbsp cinnamon
3 tbsp sugar
1 cup chopped walnuts

2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs

Toss the chopped apples and walnuts w/ the cinnamon and sugar and set aside.

Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl (flour, salt & baking powder).

Mix the oil with the sugar, orange juice, eggs and vanilla and gradually add in the dry ingredients.

In a well greased cake ring (you can also use a bundt pan), pour some batter on the bottom, then a layer of apples, then more batter, ending with the apples and walnuts.

Bake in a 350F oven for 1 hour.
Some recipes (like Smitten Kitchen) want you to bake the cake for an hour and half, but in my oven, it's too long, so start watching the cake after 1 hour for doneness (that should be plenty of time). Let cool completely before unmolding.

To ice or not to ice, that is the question.
I like to ice, but dusting with powdered sugar is good too.

Also, if you noticed, I am no longer using non-stick teflon coated baking pans (I rarely did anyway), for health reasons.

I am in love with this SIMAX GLASS BUNDT PAN! (it comes in a bigger size too).

Yes, glass, not thick Pyrex, but a thin SIMAX (like test tubes) glass pan that promises 100% perfection.
Even browning, and totally comes out of the pan like a dream.

Cleans up beautifully too.

I'll never look back (and a cup of vegetable oil is still ok).

Enjoy the cake!


Bebe said…
Yum. Similar to the Ashkenazic Coffee Cake I’ve made for years - except that it uses sour cream instead of oil and the basic cake does not include the apples (although this recipe mentions them as an alternative.

Your cake sounds delicious.
Anonymous said…
Great post! Thanks for the inspiration.
mil said…
Ah,,,, what a way to start the day.. my mouth is watering from reading your recipe. What will happen when and if I taste the cake? Remember Dil, my baking days are over. Take pity.
Debbiew said…
I always use olive oil and the cake is delish. I find Using oil is quicker then using butter.Thanks for sharing the recipe! L'shanah Tova!
Anonymous said…
MIL's the best, and your Simax pan (and cake) looks amazing!

I hope you're enjoying this primo Jersey September as much as I am...

Jen_from_NJ said…
I'll break out the vegetable oil for this cake - looks so good!
Stacey Snacks said…
Jen from NJ,
I am so happy to see you back commenting! It's been a long time!!

Anonymous said…

This cake is lovely! Tradition is the best part of cooking.

Michele from NJ but now in NY... lol

Anonymous said…
Any substitute for orange juice?
Stacey Snacks said…
Substitute with mouth wash!
Anonymous said…
Can't wait to try this one Stacey...thanks so much for sharing!
Wanda in Maine :)
I have made so many of your recipes, and always with great success. I baked this cake last week and shared with my friends. It makes a large enough cake that I could distribute a quarter each to two other couples and still have enough for my husband and me.
Loved it and my friends loved it so much they asked for the recipe.
I always look forward to your next post.
Thank you for a lovely blog.